Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why was this website created?

    The Court authorized this website because you have a right to know about the proposed Settlement and about your options before the Court decides whether to give final approval to the Settlement. This website explains the lawsuit, the proposed Settlement, and your legal rights.

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  2. What is this lawsuit about?

    Plaintiff alleged that Defendants’ acts and omissions in connection with its electric energy supply activities in Pennsylvania constitute breach of contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing and warrant declaratory relief and damages. Defendants are defending against and deny all of Plaintiff's allegations. The Court has not ruled on the merits of Plaintiff’s claims or allegations nor has it ruled on the merits of Defendants' defenses.

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  3. Why is this case a class action?

    This case is a class action because a single person has been appointed to serve as the “Class Representative” to represent the interests of all persons with similar claims against the Defendants. In this case, the Court appointed named Plaintiff Thomas Sobiech to serve as the Class Representative. The Court also approved Jonathan Shub of the firm Kohn Swift & Graf, P.C. and Troy M. Frederick of Marcus & Mack, PC to serve as the attorneys for all Settlement Class Members in this case.

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  4. Why is there a settlement?

    There is a settlement in this case because the Plaintiff and Class Counsel think the proposed Settlement is fair and in the best interests of all Settlement Class Members.

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  5. How do I know if I am part of the Settlement?

    On June 7, 2017, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania certified this lawsuit to proceed as a class action for purposes of the proposed settlement. The Settlement Class for the proposed settlement is defined as:

    All persons in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who purchased electricity from Defendants during the Class Period.
    The term “Class Period” means: Any time up to and including February 13, 2017.

    If you are not a part of the Settlement Class as defined above, then you are not included in this Settlement and will not receive Settlement benefits.

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  6. Are there exceptions to being included in the Settlement?

    Excluded from the Settlement Class are: Defendants, any entities in which they have a controlling interest, any of their parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors, employees and members of such person’s immediate family and the presiding judge(s) in this case and their immediate family, and any person who has previously released claims against the Defendants including, but not limited to, persons who released claims against the Defendants pursuant to the Settlement of the administrative proceeding that was filed in the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and docketed at C-2014-2427656.

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  7. What if I am not sure whether I am included in the Settlement?

    If you have questions regarding if you were included in the Settlement, you should contact the Settlement Administrator by calling 1-800-768-5812.

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  8. What does the Settlement provide?

    In exchange for a pro rata share of a pool of money totaling $1,250,000.00, a member of the Settlement Class who does not opt out of the Settlement will relinquish their right to bring claims on their own behalf, including claims for monetary relief, and any Class Member who does not opt out will not be able to sue Defendants on the same or any related claims. The proposed Settlement does not mean that any law was violated or that Defendants did anything wrong. Plaintiff and Class Counsel think the proposed Settlement is fair and in the best interests of all Settlement Class Members.

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  9. What do I have to do to receive payment under the Settlement?

    To remain a member of the Settlement Class, you must complete and submit a Claim Form by December 7, 2017 to request benefits for which you may be eligible as of that time. Follow all of the Claim Form instructions. Claim Forms may be submitted online here or downloaded here for printing and submission via U.S. mail. Claim Forms are also available by calling 1-800-768-5812, or by writing to Sobiech v. U.S. Gas & Electric Settlement Administrator, P.O. Box 3747, Portland, OR 97208–3747.

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  10. When will I get my payment?

    Payments will be mailed to qualifying Settlement Class Members or credited to each qualifying USG&E Account after the Court grants “final approval” to the Settlement and after any appeals are resolved. It is uncertain when any appeals made will be resolved, and resolving them can take many months. Please be patient.

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  11. What rights am I giving up against Defendants to get a payment and to stay in the Settlement Class?

    A member of the Settlement Class who does not opt out of the Settlement will relinquish their right to bring claims on their own behalf, including claims for monetary relief, and any Class Member who does not opt out will not be able to sue Defendants on the same or any related claims.

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  12. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

    Unless you decide to exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you will be represented by Class Counsel. You may have your own lawyer attend the Final Approval Hearing (at your expense), but it is not necessary that you do. You will not personally have to pay Class Counsel any attorneys’ fees, costs or expenses for their professional services.

    CLASS COUNSEL
    Jonathan Shub
    Kohn Swift & Graf, P.C.
    One South Broad Street
    Suite 2100
    Philadelphia, PA 19107

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  13. How will the lawyers be paid?

    Defendants have agreed to pay attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses in an amount to be approved by the Court, of up to $475,000. The Court may award less than that amount. Any fees, costs, and expenses awarded to Class Counsel will not reduce the amount of settlement benefits available to the Settlement Class.

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  14. If I would prefer to not participate in the Settlement, what do I do?

    If you do not want to participate in this proposed Settlement and you want to retain the right to sue Defendants about the legal issues in this case, then you must take steps to exclude yourself from the proposed Settlement. This is called asking to “opt out” of the Settlement Class. If you exclude yourself, or “opt out,” you cannot object to the proposed Settlement. If you ask to be excluded, however, you may sue or be part of a different lawsuit against Defendants concerning its rates. If you exclude yourself, you will not be bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit. Unless you exclude yourself, you give up the right to sue Defendants for all of the claims that the proposed Settlement resolves.

    To exclude yourself from the proposed Settlement, you must state your intention to do so in writing, submitted by U.S. mail to the Settlement Administrator at the addresses listed below. You must include your full name, current address, signature, date, and, to the extent you can identify it, the time period during which you purchased electricity supplied by Defendants. To be considered valid, your opt out must set forth all of this information and must be timely received. You must mail copies of your request for exclusion postmarked by October 9, 2017 to:

    Sobiech v. U.S. Gas & Electric
    Settlement Administrator
    P.O. Box 3747
    Portland, OR 97208-3747

    You cannot ask to be excluded on the phone, by email, or on the internet.

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  15. If I exclude myself, will I still get a payment from this Settlement?

    No. If you exclude yourself, you will not receive any benefits under the Settlement, and you cannot object to the proposed Settlement. If you ask to be excluded, however, you may sue or be part of a different lawsuit against the Defendants in the future. You will not be bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit.

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  16. If I don't exclude myself, can I sue Defendants for the same claims later?

    No, unless you exclude yourself, you give up the right to sue Defendants for all of the claims that the proposed Settlement resolves.

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  17. How do I tell the Court that I don't like the Settlement?

    If you disagree with any aspect of the proposed Settlement and you do not opt out, you may object to the proposed Settlement in writing. You may also appear at the Final Approval Hearing, either in person or through your own attorney. If you appear through your own attorney, you are responsible for paying that attorney.

    All written objections must:

    1. Be clearly marked as your “Written Objections to Settlement Agreement” in Sobiech v. U.S. Gas & Electric, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:14-cv-04464;
    2. State your full name, address, and telephone number;
    3. State the time period during which you purchased electricity from Defendants (to the extent you can identify it);
    4. Set forth a brief statement regarding the nature of your objections;
    5. State the reasons for your objections;
    6. Include copies of any papers that support your objections; and
    7. If you want to be heard at the Final Approval Hearing, state that you intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing.

    All written objections must be filed with the Court by mailing them to the Court at the address listed below or by filing them in person at any location of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Copies of all written objections must also be sent to both Class Counsel and Defendants’ Counsel. To be considered, any written objections must be postmarked or filed in person on or before October 9, 2017 by mailing the written objections to the addresses listed below.

    Court Class Counsel Defendants' Counsel
    Clerk of the Court
    United States District Court
    Eastern District of Pennsylvania
    James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse
    601 Market Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19106
    Jonathan Shub
    Kohn Swift & Graf, P.C.
    One South Broad Street
    Suite 2100
    Philadelphia, PA 19107
    Grant S. Palmer
    Charles A. Fitzpatrick, IV
    Blank Rome LLP
    One Logan Square
    130 North 18th Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19103

    Members of the Settlement Class who do not timely make their objections in this manner will be deemed to have waived all objections and shall not be entitled to be heard at the Final Approval Hearing.

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  18. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?

    The Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing (also known as a “Fairness Hearing”) on October 26, 2017 in Courtroom 9B of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse, 601 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106. At the Final Approval Hearing, the Court will consider whether the proposed Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. The Court also will consider Class Counsel’s request for attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses, and a proposed incentive award of $2,000 for Plaintiff in recognition of his time and energy devoted to serving and representing the Settlement Class. If there are objections to the proposed Settlement, the Court will consider them. After the Final Approval Hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the proposed Settlement.

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  19. Do I have to come to the hearing?

    You do not need to attend the Final Approval Hearing. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have regarding the Settlement Class’s position regarding the Settlement. However, you are welcome to attend the hearing at your own expense. If you send a written objection to the Court, you do not have to come to the Final Approval Hearing to have that objection considered. As long as you submitted your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may have your own lawyer attend the Final Approval Hearing (at your expense), but it is not necessary that you do so in order for the Court to consider your written objection.

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  20. May I speak at the hearing?

    For you or your personal lawyer to speak at the Final Approval Hearing, you must submit written objections to the proposed Settlement or send a letter to the Court, Class Counsel, and Defendants’ Counsel at the addresses specified that provides notice of your intent to appear at the Final Approval Hearing. Your letter must:

    1. Be clearly marked as your “Notice of Intent to Appear” in Sobiech v. U.S. Gas & Electric, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:14-cv-04464;
    2. State your full name, address, and telephone number;
    3. State the time period during which you purchased electricity from Defendants (to the extent you can identify it);
    4. Set forth a brief summary of what you intend to say at the hearing; and
    5. Include your signature.

    Any written objections or letter expressing your intent to appear at the Final Approval Hearing must be postmarked no later than October 9, 2017. The Court will decide if you will be allowed to speak at the Final Approval Hearing.

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  21. What happens if I do nothing at all?

    A member of the Settlement Class who does not opt out of the Settlement will relinquish their right to bring claims on their own behalf, including claims for monetary relief, and any Class Member who does not opt out will not be able to sue Defendants on the same or any related claims.

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  22. Are there more details about the Settlement?

    This website summarizes the proposed Settlement. For the precise terms and conditions of the Settlement, please see the Settlement Agreement here, by contacting Class Counsel, accessing the Court docket in this case through the Court’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system at https://ecf.paed.uscourts.gov, or visiting the office of the Clerk of the Court for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, James A. Byrne Courthouse, 601 Market Street, Room 2609, Philadelphia, PA 19106, between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Court holidays.

    PLEASE DO NOT TELEPHONE THE COURT OR THE COURT CLERK’S OFFICE TO INQUIRE ABOUT THIS SETTLEMENT OR THE CLAIM PROCESS.

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Important Dates

  • October 9, 2017
    Postmark Deadline to Opt Out
  • October 9, 2017
    Postmark Deadline to Object
  • October 26, 2017
    Final Approval Granted by the Court
  • December 7, 2017
    Claim Deadline